The destructive reality of LNG


Letter writer Jack Singleton may be right; we should be happy that a floating compressed natural gas depot will be anchored off the Malibu coast!

After all, natural gas is the benign substance that bakes our yummy chocolate-chip cookies and makes our houses nice and toasty. In fact, using the same logic, we should build a gasoline refinery at Point Sequit, an otherwise unused piece of coastline, to power our go-carts and lawnmowers!

Enough satire, now to his science: an explosion is not possible at the proposed LNG terminal because the gas is under far too much pressure to explode. Rather, if a tank or fitting would blow apart under the extreme pressure, the enormous concussion would likely cause the other five tanks to rupture. The resulting pressure wave would push outward at hundreds of miles per hour, smothering everything 30 miles out in high concentrates of poisonous natural gas. Only after a few seconds of destruction would the gas disperse to about 5 percent gas and 95 percent atmosphere. Only then would it become flammable.

At that point, any source of open flame (like a pilot light) would ignite the entire cloud. The resultant fire would be so hot that people living even several miles further out from the actual 60-mile diameter blast zone away would be vaporized when hit by the resultant heat wave-just like a really big nuclear bomb. Further away, brushfires would be spontaneously lit, tidal waves would wash ashore, and TV choppers and jetliners would be blown from the skies.

How do I know this? Look at the 1977 report prepared for the Occidental Petroleum LNG terminal proposed for Oxnard. That report predicted 70,000 deaths from a failure, and that was back when the Oxnard-Ventura population was much smaller.

And, I’m sure Al Qaeda will be just as adept at locating this terminal’s location as we are!

Hans Laetz